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Why Hillary Clinton Should Not Be the Democratic Presidential Nominee

By       Message Eric Zuesse     Permalink
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The biggest problem in the U.S. now is corruption. The public know this, and are therefore unprecedentedly cynical about their government; they (as will soon be documented here from a Gallup survey) overwhelmingly view our government as being corrupt. However, conservatives accept corruption as the natural order of things, something that must simply be accepted, because the rich have the most property to protect and therefore (in the view of conservatives) the rich have the right to rule so as to protect their property (since they have the most of it). Furthermore, conservatives think that the rich have earned their wealth by selling what people want, and have therefore already proven their superiority -- they've earned their control over the government. In the view of conservatives, poor people have the least property to protect, and should therefore have the least say in government. The poor are also failures economically; nobody wants to be poor; and so conservatives are doubly favorable towards rule by the rich. However, conservatives rarely vote Democratic; so, the people who don't mind our government's corruption aren't actually prospective voters for the Democratic Presidential nominee in 2016 anyway. The Democratic Party thus should simply ignore those voters, because they belong, unalterably, to the Republican Party.

Non-conservatives ("liberals"), however, don't think that the only role of government is to protect wealth; so, since Democrats are overwhelmingly not conservatives, they overwhelmingly do find disturbing that their government is corrupt, and they are therefore much more disinclined to vote for a corrupt person than non-Democrats are. Thus, if the Democratic Party were to nominate a corrupt person to represent the Party in the 2016 Presidential election, voter-turnout for the Democrat against the Republican would be significantly depressed by that fact. The Republican Party can safely nominate a corrupt person (it won't depress their vote), but the Democratic Party simply cannot safely do that. For example, Barack Obama wasn't clearly corrupt until he became President; if the public had known back then that he's corrupt, John McCain might have beaten him, instead of having been beaten by him. Hillary Clinton has a clearly corrupt record, but Barack Obama, back then, simply did not. Obama's record was ambiguous. This was crucial to Obama's victory.

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Now will be presented the latest of the many surveys that show that the U.S. Government is widely recognized by the American people to be corrupt: A Gallup poll issued on 18 October 2013, was headlined  "Government Corruption Viewed as Pervasive Worldwide,"  and Gallup buried near the end of it in a table (and they didn't even make note of the fact) showing that among the 129 countries that they surveyed, each of which nation had over a thousand citizens answering their poll in each given country, the United States was viewed by its citizens as being even a bit more corrupt than the people elsewhere in the world viewed their own country. 73% of Americans said "Yes" when asked: "Is corruption widespread throughout the government in the United States?" The people in only 62 other nations answered "Yes" at an even higher rate than 73%, so citizens in the U.S. are actually slightly more cynical about our government than citizens worldwide are about theirs. (Gallup also reported that countries that had a controlled press weren't able to fool their publics, who recognized their government's corruption notwithstanding the controlled press' trying to hide it. Corruption-perceptions were unaffected by press freedom or lack thereof.)

Although Republicans and other conservatives might not be terribly disturbed that the U.S. Government is corrupt (and they therefore aren't so opposed to "corporate lobbyists," the Supreme Court's Republican-majority "Citizens United" decision in 2010, etc.), the people who vote  for a Democratic Presidential nominee are very disturbed by our government's corruption; and those people will be turned off to a Democratic Presidential nominee if  that nominee becomes exposed, during the 2016 Presidential campaign, to have a clear record of corruption. Republicans won't be voting for the Democratic nominee anyway, but non-Republicans will at least consider voting for that person; and, if that nominee becomes exposed during the campaign to have a long record of corruption, then the turnout of voters for that person will be significantly reduced on Election Day, because non-Republicans do care, a lot, about whether or not a particular nominee is corrupt. Although Republicans might not be disturbed at all to know that a political candidate is controlled by the super-rich (and Romney's voters certainly did not care), non-Republicans will be very disturbed if they find that a Democratic candidate is corrupt. These voters will be disheartened to know that both of the major parties' Presidential candidates are corrupt. Especially after America's experience of the 2008 collapse, the TARP, and the lies by the G.W. Bush Administration about "Saddam's WMD," etc., the public's finding out that both parties have corrupt nominees to become President will depress the Democratic vote far more than it will depress the Republican vote.

Consequently, it makes no sense at all for a Democrat who has an extensive and incontrovertible record of corruption to be chosen by Democratic voters in the 2016 primaries to become the person who will represent the Democratic Party in the general election contest against the Republican nominee. If Democratic primary voters don't learn of their nominee's corruption before the primaries, then the Democratic Party could well end up being stuck, in the general election, with a nominee who will be extremely vulnerable to the Republican Party's exposure of that person's corrupt record, during the general-election campaign.

Hillary Clinton's corruption thus far has not been exposed by the Republican Party, because they've had no need to do so: she hasn't been the Democratic nominee for President. But there is also another important reason:

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The Republican Party is naturally reluctant to expose a Democratic politician's corruption if the chief beneficiaries of it have been major Republican donors. For example, Wall Street has benefited enormously from Obama's protection; like he told Wall Street's chieftains in a private meeting at the White House, on 27 March 2009,  "My administration ... is the only thing between you and the pitchforks."  Obama was courting there the very same people who had donated a far higher percentage of the McCain campaign's cash than they had donated of the Obama campaign's cash; Obama might have been aiming to pull more of their money his way next time; but, in 2012, Wall Street went overwhelmingly for Romney, because Romney was offering them an even better deal than Obama did. Republicans won't accuse Obama of corruption that benefits their own big donors. For example, how would the Republican Party have been able to attack Obama for his corruption, if their own nominee, Romney, was an even bigger sell-out to those very same donors? Consequently, the Republican Party has instead accused Obama only of alleged "corruption" to environmental industries, such as solar-power firms, irrespective of whether any corruption at all was actually involved there.

It is likely to be different if Hillary Clinton becomes the Democratic nominee. In one important respect, however, she is just like Obama: her corruption has been chiefly in service to big Republican donors. Ever since her husband entered the White House in 1993 with that strategy, it has been the dominant strategy for major Democratic Presidential aspirants; Hillary's corruption in shaping her health-care plan to benefit the private HMO industry, and Bill's corruption shaping his deregulation of Wall Street to benefit Citigroup and other Wall Street titans, has been a winning political strategy. Obama has merely been doing what Hillary would have been doing if she had become the President. In that sense, they are virtually the same. But here is how the situation would be different if Hillary Clinton would become the Democratic Party's nominee for the Presidency in 2016:

Hillary has an established record, whereas Obama did not. It is a corrupt record (even more corrupt than her husband's); and here it is:

I'll start with the credit-card industry's passage of "bankruptcy reform," which was finally voted on in the U.S. Senate on 10 March 2005, while Hillary was the junior Senator from New York. This legislation had begun when Republicans pushed for it under her husband, who clearly and vigorously opposed it. (His wife was typically more conservative than he; and it was so in this case.)

Just before George W. Bush entered office, the AP headlined on 20 December 2000, "Clinton Vetoes Bankruptcy Bill," and reported that President Bill Clinton did so "because he said it was unfair to ordinary debtors and working families who fall on hard times. ... The president said the bill would allow debtors who own expensive homes to shield their mansions from creditors while debtors with moderate incomes, especially renters, must ... comply with rigid payment plans. ... 'This loophole for the wealthy is fundamentally unfair and must be closed,' Bill Clinton said." Then G.W. Bush became President instead of Al Gore, the U.S. public elected a Republican Congress in 2002, and so the Republicans had their way. Hillary Clinton was planning to run for the Presidency in 2008 and she wanted to have Wall Street's backing. 17 Democratic Senators voted outright in favor of this Republican legislation, in order to be able to raise enough campaign cash from the banksters so as to retain their Senate seats. The Democratic 2008 Presidential contenders Senators Chris Dodd and Barack Obama, unlike Senator Hillary Clinton, voted against this Republican bill. Senator Joe Biden was amongst the 17 Democratic whores who voted in favor of it, and this alone should have disqualified him from consideration to become the Democratic Presidential nominee, except that he virtually had to vote for it because he represented Delaware and thus relied especially heavily on credit card companies to finance his campaigns.

This is how anti-abortion murderers and CEO crooks finally secured all their sought-for exemptions from "bankruptcy reform," which offered only Republican "tough love" for the middle class and poor - and an outright kick in the teeth to people bankrupted by medical bills, by job loss, or by divorce, the three biggest causes of bankruptcies, which studies showed accounted for almost all filings. (In fact, nearly half of all personal bankruptcies were due simply to medical expenses; and because of this new law, most of those cases would henceforth produce something akin to slavery capping the patient's misery.) Still, a large share of the total dollars involved in bankruptcy cases were assets held by the very few super-rich going bankrupt, and the Republican "bankruptcy reform" protected those bankrupts, so that MBNA and the other banks which had pushed so hard for this legislation received only limited real benefit from it. Perhaps the executives of those banks, who were protecting themselves from risks they were imposing upon others, were even more concerned to protect themselves in the event that they might need bankruptcy protection themselves, than they were to enhance the bottom lines of the companies they managed. This was a failure of their fiduciary obligations.

On 30 September 2002, BusinessWeek reported (p. 112), concerning the new U.S. bankruptcy law that seemed about to be passed in a Republican Congress and supported by the Republican President, "The legislation is especially harsh on lower-income debtors."

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The lobbyists who actually shape - if not write - the laws, are hired by the relatively few people who have the financial wherewithal to employ lobbyists' services. Those lobbyists are real soldiers in this authentic class war. And most of the other real soldiers consist of the think tanks (like the Heritage Foundation, and the American Enterprise Institute), and the numerous political action committees, that the conservative rich hire to indoctrinate, and to pump money into, the election campaigns of their supportive politicians.

For example, was it pure coincidence that the biggest single contributor, at $240,675, to the G.W. Bush 2000 Presidential campaign, was MBNA Corp., the bank that lobbied the hardest for this bankruptcy "reform" bill? (Enron gave Bush less in that campaign, but was his top career giver, because Enron had financed Bush's Texas rise.) Was it coincidence that, in addition, MBNA's CEO, Charles Cawley, personally raised $369,156 from others for Bush? Another MBNA executive, Lance Weaver, was also a Bush "Ranger," having raised over $200,000 for Bush. After all, Bush's Democratic predecessor, President Clinton, had vetoed similar Republican legislation. But, ironically, the corruptors ended up being defeated this time around, by their own internecine war on this matter: when big-business bucks went up against Religious-Right bucks and votes, the whole deal crumbled. It turned out that violent anti-abortion protesters were seeking a special exemption in the new bankruptcy bill, to protect their assets from bankruptcy seizure by their victims (such as by abortion-doctors they shoot), but the banks (allied with Democrats on this point) opposed such an exemption. The Religious Right, and big business, customary allies, split here, and so the entire bill bombed.

However, this legislation was revived after Republicans increased their majority in the Senate in 2004, and the biggest barrier to passage in its reincarnation consisted of some of the corrupt executives themselves, who were determined to shield their personal assets from possible civil suits by stockholders and by others, including corporate creditors. Thus, on 2 March 2005, The New York Times headlined "Proposed Law On Bankruptcy Has Loophole: Wealthy Could Shield Many Assets in Trusts." The main sponsor of this revived bill was, of course, a Republican senator, who claimed ignorance of that provision. How odd, then, that his bill would protect banks against only poor deadbeats, while letting the richest ones off. So, whom had these banks been lobbying so hard to protect themselves from? - it was from the kinds of people they never met and didn't want to meet: the middle class and poor. Bankers seemed far less interested in protecting their institutions against people such as themselves. After all, they're God's People; and, as for debtors who might have to lose their homes in order simply to pay catastrophic medical bills, or whatever - God is evidently not so fond of those people anyway. Thus, on 8 March 2005, the U.S. Senate voted 53 to 46 to defeat a proposed Democratic amendment which would have removed the bill's shield for anti-abortion murderers. Republican Senator Orrin Hatch called this amendment a "poison pill" aimed solely to protect deadbeats by blocking passage of "bankruptcy reform." The next day, another Democratic amendment aimed to preserve a longstanding bankruptcy provision, which even the SEC acknowledged to be necessary in order to prohibit corruption by investment banks in certain bankruptcy cases. As the Washington Post headlined March 10th, "Senate Delays Action on Bankruptcy: Bipartisan Amendment Would Limit Advice By Investment Banks." It reported, "Earlier yesterday, five other proposed changes to the bill were voted down. ... [Among the] amendments that were defeated, largely along party lines, [was one] would have given elderly people more protection to keep their homes during bankruptcy."

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Investigative historian Eric Zuesse is the author, most recently, of  They're Not Even Close: The Democratic vs. Republican Economic Records, 1910-2010,  and of  CHRIST'S VENTRILOQUISTS: The Event that (more...)

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